Glutamine (gln) is the most abundant free amino acid in the blood. It is involved in important metabolic and biochemical processes, like cell proliferation and oxidative stress. Previous studies have demonstrated that gln concentration in human plasma decreases in several conditions such as sepsis, ischemia-reperfusion, trauma, major surgery and burn. The aim of the present work was to compare the acute effects of different types of surgical interventions and of anesthetization on blood gln concentration. Plasma samples from 88 subjects (30 males and 58 females) were collected before and after major or minor surgery and the gln concentration was analyzed with high-performance liquid chromatography. The results showed that plasma gln concentration after surgery was lower than pre-surgery values and that in major surgery the decrease of gln was higher than in minor surgery. No significant effect was shown for sex or type of anesthesia. These results demonstrate the importance of a gln supplementation before a surgical intervention and show that the amount of gln supplementation should also be adjusted based on the type of surgery. J. Cell. Physiol. 227: 1988–1991, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.